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Guns N’ Roses Kick Off Not in This Lifetime Tour

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Richard Fortus with his Players Edition White Falcon. Photo: Kat Benzova

Guns N’ Roses have reclaimed their rightful place in the rock ‘n’ roll spotlight, triumphantly returning to the stage at Detroit’s Ford Field for their debut show on the “Not in This Lifetime” tour.

Frontman Axl Rose (back in full force after suffering a broken bone in his foot earlier in the year) and original members Slash and Duff McKagan were first to emerge on stage, followed by new members Richard Fortus on guitar and Dizzy Reed and Melissa Reese on keys. Together, they brought down the house of 40,000 eager fans that have waited years for a reunion they never thought possible.

“I’ve been playing with Guns N’ Roses for 15 years now and the work ethic these guys have is amazing,” Fortus told Gretsch Guitars. “I think I’ve rehearsed more this year in that band than I have in the previous 14 years together. It’s been really intense and very focused. It’s a great learning experience and a great honor.”

Those rehearsals apparently have paid off as GNR put on a tight and epic two-and-a-half-hour performance that kicked off with “It’s So Easy” and included hits “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Chinese Democracy” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” GNR closed out the thrilling show with fan favorite “Paradise City.”

Guns N’ Roses will tour through August with a star studded opening lineup on select dates that includes The Cult, Alice in Chains, Lenny Kravitz and more. Dates here.

Check out fan footage from the concert below.

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The Shelters Take on Classic Sounds with a Modern Twist on Debut Album

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“Fuzzy, bluesy and melodic … it’s as if the Laurel Canyon harmonies of the 1970s spent the glam rock ‘80s in The Viper Room on the Sunset Strip before getting a 2015 update in Silverlake.” – Paste Magazine

Paste Magazine’s editor-in-chief Joshua Jackson could not have described Los Angeles-based quartet the Shelters anymore perfectly, and their updated retro sounds evoke every bit of their homeland. Comprised by singer and guitarist Josh Jove, singer and guitarist Chase Simpson, drummer Sebastian Harris and bassist Jacob Pilot, the Shelters have been tearing up the L.A. music scene for the past few years.

Their infectious beats and energetic live shows caught the attention of legendary music veteran Tom Petty, who welcomed the band into his home studio and co-produced their self-titled debut, dropping tomorrow (Friday, June 10). Petty’s influence is heavily present throughout the Shelters inaugural effort, and it’s hardly a coincidence that Jove and Simpson’s vocals can be easily mistaken at times for Petty’s signature croon.

Having Petty take Jove and his bandmates under his wing was an undeniable dream come true for this young band.

“Everyone knows he’s one of the best American songwriters and I think he has a lot of wisdom in regards to what makes songs do well and what makes people love music,” said Jove during an interview with Gretsch Guitars. “He’s such a music lover himself and he’s studied great music over all these years and he knows what makes a good song.”

Petty is not the only influence at play, though. The Shelters draw from countless other inspirations that include Hendrix, the Beatles, Jimmy Page and the Kinks. Their riffs are reminiscent of hits of the past, pulling from the pinnacle of each era from the ’60s to present day. For instance, anthemic opening track “Rebel Heart” features a jingle from Jove and Simpson’s guitars that can be likened to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.” These components combine with a supremely catchy chorus: “She’s got a rebel heart/One day she’s going to fall/She’s got a rebel heart/She’s up against them all,” making for a simple and fun instant hit. Elsewhere, track “Liar” opens with a “Smoke on the Water” vibe that progresses into an ‘80s-style chorus, showing the stylistic range the Shelters are capable of.

Throughout the album, the Shelters never really show signs of slowing, keeping their energy high and riffs steady as their ever-present classic elements hold strong. “Gold” embodies quintessential ‘60s surf, while “Fortune Teller” and “Down” ooze Petty-like qualities. “The Ghost is Gone” is perhaps the most complex, modern and musically diverse songs on the record. This cut carries quite a variety of sounds that feature an eerie Doors-esque melancholy melody that builds into a heavier, dynamic classic rock song during the chorus.

Other songs gracing the record are equally inspiring, eclectic and enthusiastic. The Shelters present a simple yet sophisticated collection of sounds that offer a modern take on classic chart-toppers with the right amount of distortion, fuzz and effects. It’s a bold move to tackle vintage sounds and continue the legacy paved by such legendary influences, but this talented young band has found the sweet spot of mixing it up with their own unique updated style. It’s no wonder Petty was instantly drawn to the Shelters and their appealing brand of music that offers a little something for everyone.

Pre-order the album here.

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The Shelters Make a Smashing Debut in “Rebel Heart” Video

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Los Angeles-based rock band the Shelters seem posed to make a mark on the music scene.

Sebastian Harris, Josh Jove, Jacob Pillot, and Chase Simpson formed the band in 2014 and lucked out when Tom Petty caught one of their performances. So impressed by the group, Petty invited the band to record in his home studio, featured Jove and Simpson on the Heartbreakers’ Hypnotic Eye and even co-produced their upcoming full-length, self-titled album (due out June 10.)

Lead single “Rebel Heart” is a foot-tapping, guitar-driven tune and is a perfect introduction to this up-and-coming band, and its new music video — directed by Stash Silonski and Petty’s daughter Adria Petty—portrays the band with all of its swagger in a live environment.

“In the video for ‘Rebel Heart,’ we wanted to highlight the rock and roll energy we feed off of in our live show,” said Jove. “With the lights, the heat, the girls and the beat, we hope the video offers a surreal glimpse into that world.”

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Jamestown Revival Spreads Their Movement at Stagecoach

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“Jamestown Revival is more than music.  It’s an idea, and it’s a movement.  It’s grass roots, and it’s back porch.  Our strength is in numbers, but our individuality is ever present.  We appreciate the simpler things, and we know where we came from.  We value timelessness over trendiness, and quality over quantity.  We are Revivalists…”

So reads the band’s description on their YouTube page, and during a nearly hour-long midday set at Stagecoach’s Palomino Stage on Saturday, Jamestown Revival proved that their blend of southern country, Americana and rock is stirring a movement.

“Wow.” “Killing it.”  “Unreal.”

Those were just a few examples of the praise that quickly found its way to the twitter universe, along with some live streams on Periscope.

Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay became friends at age 14 in their hometown of Magnolia, Texas.  By 15, they had written their first song together, but it wasn’t until years later when the then-college roommates got serious about making music as a duo.  But eventually, while spending time on Texas ranch land owned by Clay’s family, the pair sat out on an old back porch with guitar and keyboard and started to write music.

“We wrote them with a different mindset, with a duo mindset, and they were built around harmony and they just had a different vibe. That was really the start of Jamestown. It started that day,” Clay said in an interview with windupmagazine.com.

The childhood friends borrowed their band name from the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, with the idea in mind to leave behind the old and head out on an adventure. (They also note Credence Clearwater Revival as a huge influence.) So they took their dream and headed west to Los Angeles, where they found inspiration for the songs that appear on debut album Utah.

Its track “California (Cast Iron Soul)” earned an immediate and hearty reaction from the audience, which led quickly to a clap, sing and stomp-along from the Stagecoach crowd.

California, I don’t even know you.
You’ve taken me away from home.
Old Magnolia I’ll never get over you.
The feelings running straight to my bones.
Someday I’ll be coming home.
Someday I’ll be coming home.
With a cast iron soul.

The boys did return home, or close to it, anyhow.  After recording Utah, (named after the cabin in Utah’s Wasatch mountains where they made the album), JR would eventually opt to move to Austin, about 200 miles away from Magnolia.

JR also paid tribute to home during their Stagecoach set with a “song they wrote about the good ol’ boys” called  “Head On” that saw them working the stage and at times, sharing a mic to blend their voices, which only added to the communal sense of the performance.

Another set highlight included a shout-out to Merle Haggard as JR gave a poignant cover of “Silver Wings.”

It was an overall emotive and awe-inspiring performance, and we’re betting that the “movement” grew exponentially after Saturday’s solid showing.

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Stagecoach’s Friday Roundup: Kristian Bush, Dale Watson, Lucero, Eric Church & More

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The hipster, celebrity crowd that came out in hoards the last two weeks to the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio, Calif., for Coachella has been totally transformed for this weekend’s Stagecoach festival. Western hats, boots and Daisy Dukes are now abound as country fans flooded the grounds today for the annual three-day festival.

Here are some highlights from our Friday roundup:

Most Self Deprecating & Most Ready to Have a Good Time

Kristian Bush had to take the trophy for self-deprecation on Friday, immediately walking up to the mic on the Mane stage mid-afternoon and saying to the crowd:

“Oh, it’s that guy from Sugarland; I didn’t know he could sing.”

A few songs later, he remarked, “This is my third time playing here – first time singing.”

All was delivered with a huge grin on his face, though, and Bush was definitely ready to party. “Hearse With a Trailer,” his debut solo single, was a mega crowd pleaser, made even more entertaining with his band’s choreographed “dance” moves. (Anyone out there re-watch the film, Purple Rain, in the last week or so? Bush and band’s synchronized turns and moves with their instruments called to mind those by the flashy Morris Day and his group, The Time in their final performance in the film.)

Bush also riled up the crowd with a few Sugarland hits, too, including “Stuck Like Glue” and “Baby Girl.”

“My rule is if I wrote it, I’ll sing it,” he said of the latter. “I wrote this when we weren’t even really a band yet. I think it was a Tuesday.”

Debonair Dale

Austin, Texas country artist Dale Watson may be downright old-style honky tonk, but he does so with such finesse that he exudes a sense of sophistication. Dressed to the country nines, Watson and his Lone Star band rolled through an exemplary set that had those at the Palomino stage eating out of his hands.

Like literally. Gals and guys repeatedly yelled. “We love you Dale!” particularly after his boisterous “Exit 109.” He followed up that fun, high-speed number with a moving tribute to the late, great and legendary Merle Haggard with “Here in Frisco.”

Jana Kramer Jolts

A familiar face from her role on CW hit show One True Hill, Jana Kramer is also making a name for herself in the country scene.

Sporting a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers T-Shirt, Kramer sizzled with confidence jolting the audience wide awake straight out of the gates with sing-along “Pop That,” “One of the Boys” and “Don’t Touch My Radio.”

She also showcased her softer side with a cover of Brad Paisley and Alison Krause’s “Whiskey Lullaby,” one of the saddest country ballads ever.

Just Try Not to Grin

Although perhaps not a “household name,” Billy Joe Shaver is hugely respected as a writer within the genre. And with an infectious grin, you just can’t help to love him or his real-deal country music.

The Mustang stage crowd ate up his late afternoon set with whoops, cheers and laughter. Even Shaver couldn’t hold back his chuckle during his performance of
“That’s What She Said Last Night.”

“Got a brand new cellphone — AT&T,” he sang. “It was a little bitty thing, just right for a country boy like thing. My girlfriend took a poke at the thing. Then she threw it away.She said Billy I know you’re attached to that thing, but it’s too small for me.”

Whiskey Drenched and Wonderful


Call them southern rock. Call them punk. Call them alt-country. We’ll just go with plain ‘ole good. Lucero shined with their soulful blend of lyrics, vocals and musicianship during their near hour-long set.

Singer Ben Nichols sounds like he just downed a bottle of whiskey, and that’s a great thing. On “When You Decided to Leave,” you can just feel his sincerity and regret as he he sang the lyrics:

“I try to be a good man/But I’ve done so wrong for so long/I don’t know if I can help but be a bad man.”

Midway thru the set, the rest of the band took a break as Nichols played a brand new song he wrote about a month ago.

“My brother did the movie Mud with Matthew McConaughey and he’s working on another one,” Nichols told the crowd. “I’m hoping he uses this one in the soundtrack.”

And it seems that maybe he’s found a way to be a good man.

“One more night here without you, and then to you I will come back.
They ain’t never take me a way again.
I’ve had enough of that. I’ve had enough of that.
I can tell my loving,
I can prove my heart is true.
Might not be good enough for them, but I just wanna be good enough for you
I wanna be good enough for you.
Remember how it felt the first night, it’s love we can’t afford to lose.
I’ll take care of you the rest of my days if that’s enough for you.
If that’s enough for you.”

Creepin’ with Eric Church

Nashville’s rebel rouser Eric Church had a sea of country diehards ready to continue the  party by the time his 10:15 p.m. headlining set rolled around on Friday night.

Although his latest hit is titled “Mr. Misunderstood,” there was no discord happening at Stagecoach as Church followed Chris Young’s upbeat set  and closed out the night in stunning fashion. Fans sang along with the country crooner, toasted along to “Drink In My Hand” and buzzed with anticipation as percussive shakers helped intro “Creepin,” giving the cut a swampy, southern vibe.

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